Villagers stall Navi Mumbai airport work

Villagers of Siddhart Nagar, which is situated near Ulwe hill, stalled work on blasting and cutting of the hill at the site of the proposed Navi Mumbai international airport on Monday.

The blasting work had triggered a landslide on Saturday causing damage to houses in Siddhart Nagar and injuring five villagers, including a seven-year-old boy. However, NRI coastal police have only confirmed damages to the homes of villagers and injuries to a CIDCO official and five GVK employees.

Prakash Jadhav, a Project Affected Person (PAP) from Siddhart Nagar, said, “What would have happened if the landslide would have cost us our lives. We have been telling CIDCO officials to rehabilitate us before the blasting work, but they have not been paying heed. We are now planning to hold a huge protest against CIDCO [City and Industrial Development Corporation].”

Demand for rehabilitation

While men from the village stalled work at the blasting site, the women made an attempt to meet CIDCO officials at their office. Hanumant Yatre, father of seven-year-old Vinay who was injured in Saturday’s landslide, said, “My wife and a few other women went to meet CIDCO officials, but they were not entertained. Why is it difficult to rehabilitate us when crores are being spent on the project?”

Meanwhile, a CIDCO official said that more than 50% of the residents in Siddhart Nagar moved to the area after September 2013, the cut off date for being eligible for rehabilitation. The official said, “In 2013, a survey was conducted to identify the villages to be rehabilitated. Siddhart Nagar somehow was not surveyed. Google images show that there were only around 30 households in the village in 203, now there are over 100.”

The official said that most of new occupants constructed temporary homes using tin sheets. He said, “It is difficult to verify who the original residents of the area were. We are finding a way to rehabilitate the rightful owners.”

Mr. Jadhav said, “We have written letters to the tehsildar, the Konkan commissioner, the district collector and even to the Chief Minister seeking immediate rehabilitation of the villagers, but we are yet to get a response. We have documents to show that we have been residents of this area for the past seven to eight years.”

Out of danger

Meanwhile, Rajesh Sharma, geologist with GVK, and Mayur Kamble, assistant engineer with CIDCO, who were admitted to the ICU in Apollo Hospital after they were injured in Saturday’s landslide, are said to be out of danger. However, Dr. Nitin Jagasia, head, emergency department, Apollo Hospital, said Mr. Kamble had sustained severe injuries to his leg.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:21:50 AM |

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